NLRB Expands Definition of Joint Employer

By Staff Report

Nov. 3, 2015

Joint employer status can be a tricky topic for employers, with one major question being what test applies for determining whether an individual is an employee. Different systems have different tests. As an example, the IRS defines a joint employer differently than most workers’ compensation systems, which in turn define joint employer status differently than the National Labor Relations Board.

Until recently, the NLRB required evidence that an alleged joint employer exercise actual control over the alleged joint employee before a finding of joint employer status would be made. Under its new precedent, an entity merely has to have the ability, regardless of whether it is exercised, to control the terms and conditions of an individual’s employment to qualify as a joint employer. In its recent decision in Browning-Ferris Industries of California Inc. et al. v. Sanitary Truck Drivers and Helpers Local 350, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the NLRB found that Browning-Ferris was a joint employer with the staffing agency that supplied workers for its facilities. As a result, Browning-Ferris was potentially required to participate in the collective bargaining process between the staffing agency and its employees. Browning-Ferris Industries of California Inc. et al. v. Sanitary Truck Drivers and Helpers Local 350, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, case number 32-RC-109684 (Aug. 27, 2015).

IMPACT: This case points out the importance of the joint-employer issue generally. Employers must remain alert regarding the possibility that individuals that the employer does not view as employees may nevertheless be found to be employees for various purposes. Such findings can lead to everything from significant liability for wage and hour issues to increased workers’ compensation insurance premiums. 


blog workforce

We build robust scheduling & attendance software for businesses with 500+ frontline workers. With custom BI reporting and demand-driven scheduling, we help our customers reduce labor spend and increase profitability across their business. It's as simple as that.

Book a call
See the software

Related Articles

workforce blog


Minimum Wage by State in 2022 – All You Need to Know

Summary The federal minimum wage rate is $7.25, but the rate is higher in 30 states, along with Washing...

federal law, minimum wage, pay rates, state law, wage law compliance

workforce blog


California’s push for a 32-hour workweek explained, and how to prepare

Summary: California is considering a 32-hour workweek bill for businesses with over 500 staff 4 day wee...

32 hour workweek, 4 day workweek, california, legislature, overtime

workforce blog


A business owner’s guide to restaurant tipping law

Business owners in the restaurant industry are in a unique position when it comes to employee tips. As ...

restaurants, tip laws, tipping